A FORMER police officer known as ‘Miss Daisy’ for his driving has been jailed for causing a head-on crash.
Marc Ringland, a British Transport Police officer for 12 years, wept in the dock as the crash was detailed in court.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Ringland, 32, overtook a Ford BMax in his Vauxhall Insignia ‘at speed’ in the 60mph limit Manor Lodge Road, in Rowland’s Castle, going south off the A3M.
But David Jenkins, prosecuting, told how, as Ringland attempted a second overtake, he ploughed into an oncoming Ford CMax driven by a man and his wife on Christmas Eve last year.
The victim braked as he saw ‘headlights of the car coming straight towards him’ but could not avoid a crash.
Mr Jenkins said: ‘The Insignia then collided head-on with the Ford CMax driven by (the victim).
‘It turned 90 degrees, the Ford vehicle then struck the Insignia, with the passenger and two other cars in the road travelling the other way collided with each other.’
The driver of the CMax was rushed to Queen Alexandra Hospital with a fractured chest bone and whiplash.
Others also suffered whiplash, while Ringland was diagnosed with concussion.
When police arrived at the scene at 10.25pm Ringland failed the field impairment test and could barely talk —although he had apologised.
At Portsmouth Central police station a health professional found he was ‘impaired through drink or drugs’.
His blood contained diazepam, tramadol and codeine, which he was taking for depression and back pain.
He was arrested for driving while unfit through drugs and for causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was only charged with, and admitted, the second offence.
Jailing Ringland for a year, judge David Melville QC said: ‘This was an appalling piece of driving on a country road coming on Christmas Eve at 10.25pm. You overtook two cars in a short space of time driving at a high speed.
‘In the second of those you ended up having a head-on collision with a perfectly innocent coupled driving in the other direction and caused a multiple series of accidents in so doing. You weren’t able to give a coherent account at the scene.’
Ringland, of Windrush Close, Havant, was banned from driving for three years with a £140 surcharge to pay.
John Naylor, mitigating, said: ‘The unfortunate thing for Mr Ringland is this: in the police service he served for 12 years, he had an unblemished driving record and as he said in his interview he normally drives rather slowly, known as Miss Daisy, and had done courses required as a police driver.
‘He then suffered what must be post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being a British Transport Police man.
‘He was required on many occasions to deal with suicides on the railways and he was able to cope with that until his grandfather died and his grandmother started self-harming to the extent that she tried to commit suicide.’
He added Ringland, who he said was very remorseful, was on his way to visit his grandmother in a home ‘to cheer her up’ when he crashed and he ‘simply didn’t see’ the car with the married couple.